In its annual omnibus regulation for the Affordable Care Act exchanges, CMS revealed that it aims to crack down on some questionable behavior used by health plans when calculating their medical loss ratios (MLRs) — a move that will likely result in insurers paying even higher rebate amounts to consumers than they already are.
The ACA requires individual and small-group market insurers to spend at least 80% of their premium income on medical care and quality improvement. For the large-group market, that threshold is 85%. If insurers’ MLRs dip below those percentages, they’re required to return the difference to plan members. MLR rebates, which are calculated using a three-year average, have risen considerably in recent years and totaled $2 billion for the 2020 plan year.